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Anything Goes (1954)

Frank Sinatra , Ethel Merman , Sid Smith  |  NR |  DVD
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Frank Sinatra, Ethel Merman, Burt Lahr, Sheree North
  • Directors: Sid Smith
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Entertainment One
  • DVD Release Date: March 29, 2011
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004H0M2X2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,219 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

From 1950 to 1955, every Sunday night NBC's Colgate Comedy Hour presented live musical variety television featuring the top names in vaudeville, theater, radio and film. In this 1954 production of the famed Cole Porter musical comedy “Anything Goes,” Frank Sinatra and Ethel Mermen made their television debuts, belting out classic tunes in this blockbuster song and dance production. Set on a luxurious ocean liner, a nightclub singer helps a fellow American woo an English heiress while flappers and gangsters run amok in this spectacular tale of jazz age madness.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
The "Anything Goes" from eOne is GREAT! This is the 1954 episode of the Colgate Comedy Hour that featured a much-abridged version of Cole Porter's 1934 Broadway show (later made into a movie and with many revivals on, and off-, Broadway. This "hour long" show starred Ethel Merman and Frank Sinatra with Bert Lahr and Sheree North filling out the cast. It was "Produced" by Jule Styne.

The show was done live but kinescopes were made and were circulated among collectors in poor condition for many years. After Merman's death, a relative called theatre writer Stephen Cole and said she found Merman's original kinescope print. Its from this print that eOne - and the Archive of American Television produced this DVD. Its in pristine condition!

Like many versions of the musical, other Porter songs are inserted into this production. At least eight full-length versions of "I Get a Kick out of you", "You Do Something to me", "All Through the Night" and the wonderful "Blow Gabriel Blow" are here in addition to two versions of the title song. When Lahr was asked to join the cast, he insisted that he and Merman reprise their duet - "Friendship" from their run of DuBarry Was A Lady. It's wonderful! As you will hear in the "bonus interview" with the show's musical arranger - Buddy Bregman (who was Styne's nephew) - Lahr often flubbed his lines. Look out for when he refers to Merman's character as "Annie Oakley" (when her character is Miss Oakley.).

The show is presented here with the commercials deleted, so it only runs 47 minutes. When the show originally aired the director thought that it might run "over" so they cut one song. The cast found themselves with four minutes to fill at the end, so we get an impromptu encore!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I Wish I Could Have Loved It More March 28, 2011
For anybody who has never seen la Merm strutting her stuff, this is an excellent opportunity to see why she was the toast of Broadway for decades.

But, for fans of the play, this version has been chopped and clipped and cut and sewn into something that barely even resembles "Anything Goes." It's a shame that, with each of the versions of the Cole Porter classic, there has yet to be a filmed version of the actual play with the intended songs and dances.

Frank Sinatra sings pleasantly - though his being the love interest of Merman - easily 25+ years his senior - is a little ridiculous. Sheree North as the gangster's moll does a very credible job in another role that has been cut up and blue penciled into oblivion. Bert Lahr is Bert Lahr - yes, that means very funny and very professional.

I'm giving this production three ''s. Really, just one star for the production as a whole. But, it is definitely worth seeing for Ethel Merman's performance. There is nothing like seeing Ethel face forward, plant her feet, and belt to the balcony! She's a real theatrical legend and deserves to be seen.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ethyl, Frank and Bert give stellar performances! March 3, 2011
By Dee J.
Ethyl Merman does a standout job reprising her Broadway performance of "Anything Goes", with Frank Sinatra's velvet voice and the hijinks of Bert Lahr (o.k., Bert sings a bit, too, let's just leave it at that!)

What a joy to watch this after all those years of having this great show locked away in the vault. Sure it's before my time and probably yours, too, but I found it really enjoyable, at least knowing about all the major performers.

The original commercials are quite interesting, too. I highly recommend AG for everyone!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but know what you're getting June 21, 2011
This is a 50-minute TV musical from the 1950s, set in the Roaring Twenties. It's built around Cole Porter songs, some of which are from his 1934 Broadway musical of the same title.

The plot and dialog are radically different from the Broadway original, though there are some common points: it's still a shipboard comedy, Merman again plays a nightclub singer named Reno Sweeney, and there's still a comical gangster named Moonface (played beautifully by Bert Lahr) and a pompous nobleman named Lord Evelyn. But the script was largely new for this TV version.

It's a great cast and the program is fun, as long as you're not expecting the Broadway show. One highlight for theater buffs: Merman and Lahr singing "Friendship," which they originally introduced together in another Porter musical in the 1930s.

The picture and audio quality on this DVD release are a pleasant surprise: they're much clearer than any of the earlier video releases I've seen of this live broadcast.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Valuable for Ethel Merman March 10, 2013
The adaptation of the Cole Porter show is approximate, and only the
hit songs are used, bolstered by other Porter numbers. Frank Sinatra's
stylings don't really suit a story musical, and somehow Bert Lahr, though
well cast, doesn't really land. The rest of the production is cramped on
small sets. But this really is an Ethel Merman showcase--she gets solo
star billing even over Sinatra--and it is a very valuable preservation
of what Merman was like on stage. Her movies, after all, are films, which
call for a different performing style than Broadway demanded, smaller in
scale, more "realistic." But this Anything Goes is a staging, performed
live before an audience. It's as close to seeing Merman in the theatre,
her true haunt, as one can get today.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
quite good fun, was an old tv programme which I didn't appreciate till I saw it.
Published 1 month ago by keith
1.0 out of 5 stars Trash
Merman was never a good comedian or singer. Lahr had his moments but not here. Even they knew it was bad - They gave up after one hour. Right now, P.K. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Bart
5.0 out of 5 stars Merman and Sinatra Singing Cole Porter...Live!
It was great to see Ethel Merman and Frank Sinatra singing the songs that Ethel helped to make famous, and Bert Lahr is always fun to watch. He is the perfect Moon Face. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Peter C. Morrison
3.0 out of 5 stars ANYTHING GOES
I wasn't terribly impressed with this version which made for an hour long Ethel merman Show TV special. Ethel could still give with the voice, but was, sadly, poorly dressed. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Norman Hannah
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible quality-don't bother!
My 11 yr old daughter is taking theater, so we like to watch great musicals together, which Anything Goes is...but this specific version has terrible sound AND poor video quality. Read more
Published 14 months ago by PB
3.0 out of 5 stars talented actors
it is full of talent but I should have read further into the description. I thought it was going to be a movie and it is just one of Ethel's shows.
Published 15 months ago by crystals
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the original.
Merman is too old for the part of Reno. And the addition and subtraction of songs makes it bizarre. Avoid it.
Published 15 months ago by Uaimh
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!
Who can resist Cole Porter's music!
The story is terrific and the cast, well they don't breed them like this anymore.
Always love this!
Published 15 months ago by Me
2.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating for history only -- nothing like the original
The reason Ethel Merman was so famous was at least in part because of the smash success she was in the mid-1930s, when she was young and lithe, a total Broadway package with a huge... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Cosmic Reader
2.0 out of 5 stars A curiosity from black and white TV era
This is an interesting curiosity but a terrible rendition of Anything Goes. Photo implies it is in color but it isn't. Sound quality and picture are terrible. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Alan Tripp
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